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Dancehall Ladies: The Crimes and Executions of America's Condemned Women

NCJ Number
L K Gillespie
Date Published
145 pages
This volume tells the stories of some of the 37 women executed in the United States since 1900.
The book examines the lives and crimes of women executed in the United States since 1900, and attempts to determine what a woman must do to be executed, why some women are executed while others found guilty of the same crimes are not. Sentencing disparities involved such factors as pressure from women's equality groups, the possible identity of powerful people involved or affected by the crimes, the status of the offender, and the politics of the commutation process itself. Personal characteristics were instrumental in either eliciting or revoking feelings of compassion and empathy for the offender. A woman found guilty of criminal homicide and eligible for the death penalty appears to be more likely to be executed if she is perceived to have an extensive criminal history; fails to portray the expected societal gender role of a woman; has an accomplice willing to testify against her; her case has been widely publicized by the press and given her a derogatory nickname. Notes


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